Spaghetti, a Glass of Wine, and Honesty

Spaghetti, a Glass of Wine, and Honesty

Chef Mario Batali said the needs of his customers helped shape his brand.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

The Right Partnerships Can Supercharge Growth

The Right Partnerships Can Supercharge Growth

Hayley Barna, co-CEO of Birchbox, said her company teams with others to become an unavoidable part of the beauty industry.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Tracking Trends in Digital Marketing

Tracking Trends in Digital Marketing

Jacob Cohen, a principal with Frog Design and an instructor at General Assembly, said the smartphone has become a centerpiece device.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Staying Solo While Growing

Staying Solo While Growing

Clara Shih, CEO and founder of Hearsay Social, said remaining independent and nimble was important for her company.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Car Maker Looks for a Comeback

Car Maker Looks for a Comeback

Showing off the new ideas at the company is one way Alan Batey, senior vice-president and global head of Chevrolet, wants to boost the brand's recognition.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

A Visit to the Trading Floor

A Visit to the Trading Floor

After traders cleared out for the day, guests of the summit got a ground-level view of the New York Stock Exchange.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Mobile is Becoming a Lifestyle

Mobile is Becoming a Lifestyle

With his company's technology in most smartphones, Qualcomm’s chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher sees mobile as the largest technology platform in human history.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Wearable Technology Just Getting Started

Wearable Technology Just Getting Started

Qualcomm's Toq smartwatch is an effort to show what the tech is capable of.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Considering Benefits of an IPO

Considering Benefits of an IPO

Scott Sanborn, chief operating officer of Lending Club, said going public makes sense for his company's growth plans.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Celebrating Winning Ideas

Celebrating Winning Ideas

New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira and Marisa Ricciardi, chief marketing officer for NYSE Euronext, prepare to head down to ring the closing bell.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Giving Early Backers a Chance to See a Little Green

Giving Early Backers a Chance to See a Little Green

By going public, Tremor Video let early investors partially liquidate and created an opportunity to attract new backers, said CEO Bill Day.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange

Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange

Leaders from the summit signaled the end of the trading day.

photo by Ben Hider, NYSE

It is not often that startups, big companies, and a celebrity chef come together to talk growth strategies, but that was the scene at the annual Executive Marketing Summit at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

Offering tips on brand development—and how to choose the best tomatoes each season—television personality and chef Mario Batali took the stage sporting his signature orange Crocs. Known for such restaurants as Babbo in New York and his Eataly artisanal food and wine market, Batali said his brand has evolved based on what customers crave.

“They want spaghetti, they want a glass of wine, and they want honesty,” he said in a fireside chat with Andrew Ross Sorkin, co-anchor of CNBC’s Squawkbox.

Batali favors brand messages that are focused and to the point. When planning a new menu at his restaurants, he said, details of the entrees must be succinct. “Can we describe what this experience is in one or two sentences?” he asked. “If we can’t, then we stop and reconsider.” Customers do not have time for lengthy descriptions, Batali said, when deciding what they want.

Creating a widely known brand can also lead to a few headaches, and Batali learned the hard way how important it is to manage the image that gets portrayed in public. “You have to constantly think about the best way to present your brand without insulting people,” he said.

Batali spoke about how he dealt with the blowback from a less than flattering comparison he made, during a panel discussion in 2011, about Wall Street executives and former fascist dictators. “My misinterpretation of that debate was that it was just us,” he said.

The news media quickly jumped on the comments, which Batali said led to a boycott of his restaurants. “I took my lumps and I apologized,” he said. “You’re accountable for everything you say in the public space.”

Batali’s story was one of many shared at the marketing summit, which was hosted by NYSE Euronext, Interbrand, The New York Times, and CNBC.

A panel on growth strategies from rising companies featured an East Coast-West Coast lineup of Hayley Barna, co-CEO of Birchbox in New York; Clara Shih, CEO and founder of San Francisco-based Hearsay Social; Scott Sanborn, chief operating officer of Lending Club in San Francisco; and Bill Day, CEO of Tremor Video (NYSE: TRMR), based in New York.

Sorkin, who served as the panel’s moderator, asked what these companies consider when weighing whether to remain independent and go public, merge with a peer, or sell the business.

Birchbox for JetBlue "Mint" premium service.

Birchbox for JetBlue “Mint” service.

A number of options are available for Birchbox, Barna said, which ships monthly lifestyle and beauty product samples to subscribers. She wants her company to become an indespensible part of the beauty industry. “We could do it independently but we also see a way that partnering with another company could supercharge inevitability,” she said.

On Monday, JetBlue Airways announced a partnership that makes Birchbox the provider of amenity kits for men and women that will be given in-flight to customers in a new brand of premium seats.

Though Birchbox is private, Barna said finding ways to allow early employees to take a small percent of their vested shares off the table could encourage them to work even harder—especially to pay back college loans or cover a down payment on an apartment. “It’s expensive to live in New York,” Barna said.

Employees at Tremor Video, which went public in June, were able to take partial cash-outs of their shares, Day said. “We controlled it, in the sense of how much … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth.

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